Last Updated on February 15, 2009 by Christine Kaaloa
You don’t have to be an anti-Valentine’s Day grinch or a Pro-V-Day supporter.
But who said if you’re solo, you can’t celebrate Valentines day, as well?
In the winter chill of Manhattan, being single can feel difficult, but it is often the adopted lifestyle for many Manhattanites, absorbed in the climb of sky-scraping ambitions. Soloists are not alone. We are many, we are strong, independent and we’re not looking outside ourselves for love.
Okay, maybe a little.
But one reason I love New York City is because “being single” is not a humiliating stamp of being an unloved ogre. It generally means you’re in a stronger and more passionate relationship ….with your career . Okay, that sounds uncomfortable, but these days, the societal pressure to perform well in your youth is there.
However, there are still moments of realization and places like restaurants, clubs or events, where *being two* feels like it would be so much better than being ONE.
Relationships and Flowing solo
Valentine’s Day is a perfect day for me to pamper the most passionate Love/Hate relationship in my life- the relationship with myself. Some people don’t get that. They don’t know what it’s like to be in a relationship with themselves or to be fine with being alone. Being alone has to be peoples’ top secret fear. Right up there with death.
Many think they know themselves through looking at the mirror, going to the gym to be more physically fit, through understanding what their relationship is to others or by driving from their home to their offices as they think, ‘Yup, this is everyday me… going to work with my favorite Starbucks latte!’ That’s not a relationship with yourself… it’s a flirtation.
I had a boyfriend tell me once, that he can’t be alone. Ever. He always has to be in a relationship, because it made him a better person. That’s when the red flag went up.
Sadly, he felt that way about himself, despite being successful in his career, brilliant and respected in his industry… and having the ability to make me laugh endlessly. It made me realize there’s probably a large part of the population that feels this way, even though you should never rely on others to make you a better or happier person or to draw your true value out. The reason being, when that person leaves, much of all that newly found better half can feel like it leaves with them.
Personally, I love being in relationships, socializing and I love being on stage in front of thousands to talk or perform…. I love and want these things for my life. But my dreams and career thrive when I’m alone and I need this too. My solo world is vibrant, awakening and creative place, because there’s powerful effort to make it such when I am alone. I focus on making my dreams happen. I don’t wrestle others for a stage, raise my voice above the clamor to be heard, wear masks or compromise what I’m thinking or feeling in each moment. Instead, silence forces me to listen to my own wisdom and intuition. I observe more in my environment and.. find the guru in all things. Like a lover, my senses open, but they aren’t focused on one person, but to the universe around me, channeling powerful and endless creativity.
This Valentine’s Day I’m going slow. Occasional naps, a healthy breakfast of yogurt and granola, and long strolls, wandering the city lost in thought and observation. I treat myself to a visit to Union Square (my favorite stretch of man-made land in the city) for yoga goodness with my favorite Jivamukti yoga teacher, Dechen. Much like many Jivamukti teachers, you’d love to secretly crush on, he’s an inspiring anomaly, who goes with his own flow. From the Thurman family, his father is a figurehead in Buddhism and a Hollywood celebrity sister, well… you know. That’s a lot to live up to. But I treat myself to him, because not only is he a yogi traversing the international Buddhist world (spiritual passports rock too!), but he’s got a sardonic New York humor which always produces laughter (equivalent to an accidental fart) when I’m holding the most uncomfortable position. You gotta love anyone, who can make you laugh so you forget about the pain.
How do you dine alone in New York City on Valentine’s Day?
Solo dining on Valentine’s Day can take New York balls.
As head strong and independent as many New Yorkers are, surprisingly, single Manhattanites can still feel crippled going public with their solitude on Valentine’s Day.
Fortunately, my desire to feed my after-yoga-workout stomach yowl, propelled me. I hungrily and (quite excitedly) marched into Souen (a macrobiotic restaurant), put myself on a twenty minute wait list and fantasized about my macrobiotic meal options!
A Single Person’s Love Story: Myself and I
Now whenever I hear that “Celebrate yourself!” feminine rally bullshit, it sounds like a corny and pathetic war cry that you hear on the side… that’s losing. How many people know how to celebrate their “solo self” or even date it? Honestly.
A vacant chair sat at the other end of my table. Without a hitch and I unconsciously plunked down my bulky winter coat and bag, using the chair as a “coat check”. Being a busy, career-minded single, I don’t see an empty seat as lacking. I see it as full-filling. An empty chair is purposeful, a timed opportunity to create positive dream building action in my life and an additional luxury, like scoring a king-sized luxury hotel bed all to yourself!
Why not “heart” ME?
I order a Half & Half soup, a soup where you can mix two soups into one bowl! Then I scan the crowd, noticing another single girl, donning the I-am-pretending-to-be-absorbed-in-my-book look , …a handful of ladies night out groups consoling themselves with lipsticked laughter and the quintessential lovey-dovey romantic couples.
Dining next to me – a couple was having their “romantic Valentine’s date”. Every now and then, while talking to his date, The Boy would sneak side glances at me and every new lady that entered the restaurant! This was disturbing and moreso, when The Girl caught on.
Afterall, if I were trading stock on ‘American relationships’ on Wall Street, I’d say many romances and couples are not stocks I’d invest in for the long haul. Sad but true. I’ve actually seen more growing divorces and spousal cheating. With this shifty-eyed date going on beside me, I was not regretting my singles choice, one iota. Instead it got me thinking~
As my own “partner”, i’ve been known to be very abusive to myself. I can be my own shitty date! It’s a wonder how I still stay with myself !
BUT I will never:
- Break up with Myself,
Cheat on Myself
Leave or divorce Myself.
And with time, I will only learn :
To trust Myself more.
That I’ll be the only person to pick Myself up after I fall.
To be more faithful to Myself.
To accept all my flaws.
To love and value myself deeper.
So let me ask you…where’s the better investment of time?
Finding Two Hearts at a Table for One.
MYSELF & I…
This is the forever until-death-do-us-part fairytale love that can exist in reality. It’s possible and I can make it so. There was romance in the air and it wasn’t coming from the Valentine couples and certainly not from the shifty-eyed couple next to me.
I made a goal to myself that Valentine dates with myself should be more of a more frequent affair. Perhaps, a commitment…
Then I looked down into my Half & Half soup and found my answer! How’s that for a sign?